If you keep seeing notifications to upgrade your Mac software you may be feeling frustrated, it’s helpful of Apple to let you know that an update is available, the company even downloads the update in the background so that the process of updating your Mac needn’t take as long. But these nagging notifications rarely appear at the right time - we usually see them when we arrive at our desk first thing in the morning with a week’s worth of work in front of us.

It wouldn’t be annoying if there was a simple way to dismiss the alert, but the only options you’ll see are Restart or Later, wiht the Later options including: TRy in an Hour, Try Tonight, Remind Me Tomorrow, or Turn on Auto Update.

To be frank, these are less annoying options than those seen on older versions of macOS where you simoly had the choice of Install or Details. Unlike other Notifications there is no option to Dismiss, or Remind me later so you couldn't just can’t postpone the nagging for an hour.

Luckily there are a few ways to stop seeing these annoying notifications, and we’ll walk you through how to stop seeing "Updates available" or “ready to install” alerts below.

However, a word of warning before we tell you how to make the alerts cease. Your Mac is automatically downloading macOS update in the background - sometimes these updates are important. They may fix a vulnerability or address a bug in the software that could affect how well your Mac work. When you see the notification the software is already downloaded and is ready to install, and generally the process shouldn’t take too long (unless of course it’s a major updated).

The problem is sometimes an update to macOS adds issues and vulnerabilities so you may be thinking you would rather wait and let a few other people install it before you do - just to be sure it isn’t going to cause you a headache. In that case you will want to delay, but you won’t want to never update. So we will cover that scenario too.

How to stop seeing macOS update alerts

It's actually quite easy to turn off this nagging. How you do so will depend on the version of macOS you are running.

In Mojave:

Mojave update

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Software Update.
  3. Deselect Automatically keep my Mac up to date

You can also click on Advanced and choose from:

  • Check for updates
  • Download new updates when available
  • Install macOS updates
  • Install app updates from the App Store

If you don't want updates installing automatically, when you might have a busy day ahead, we suggest making sure that Install macOS updates and Install app updates from the App Store are not selected.

In High Sierra:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on App Store.
  3. Click on the box beside Automatically check for updates to deselect it.

This will deselect all the options. If you would still like the update to be installed, but you would prefer it if Apple did it automatically the following steps should help...

How to stop seeing update alerts - but update anyway

If you'd rather not leave your Mac open to threats you could turn off the nagging messages and have the updates happen automatically. Here's how:

In Mojave:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Software Update.
  3. Check the box beside Download new updates when available.
  4. Now select the box Install macOS updates.

In High Sierra:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on App Store.
  3. Check the box beside Automatically check for updates - it should have a tick in it as should the four options below that…
  4. Now deselect the box beside Download newly available updates in the background.

This will stop the notifications from appearing. However, your Mac will still install macOS updates, along with other app updates and system data files and security updates.

How to stop automatic updates - apart from security updates

You could also choose to stop your Mac from automatically installing macOS updates, but still install security updates.

In Mojave:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Software Update.
  3. Check the box beside Install system data files and security updates.

In High Sierra:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on App Store.
  3. Check the box beside Automatically check for updates - it should have a tick in it as should the four options below that…
  4. Deselect Install macOS updates.
  5. You can also deselect Install app updates.
  6. Now deselect Download newly available updates in the background.

Now your Mac will install system data files and security updates, but it won't install major updates unless you trigger the update yourself via the Mac App Store or by selecting the Apple menu and choosing About This Mac > Software Update.